ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — Kristen Grindstaff has spent the last 14 years teaching a classroom of students.

The third-grade teacher at West Side Elementary says the best part of being a teacher is the learning material beyond the science and social studies taught.

“I love teaching because it gives an opportunity to help every student figure out who they really are, and it also gives us an opportunity to make sure that they know that they are valued,” Grindstaff said.

She has spent all her years in education teaching third grade — long enough to watch the first classes grow into adults of their own.

“It’s so rewarding to see now some of my [former] students become parents and get married, and so I’m getting wedding invitations and things like that — baby shower invitations — and it’s just so special to see just what awesome people they have become,” Grindstaff said.

West Side Elementary Principal John Wright said that although Grindstaff is a seasoned third-grade educator at the school, she is known to change things up as she goes.

“She’s been in this position for quite some time, so she really knows the content, and you can tell,” Wright said. “She doesn’t just keep doing the same thing; she tries to improve on it.”

Congratulations to this week’s Educator of the Week, Kristen Grindstaff!

To nominate an educator, click here.